18 Free & Paid For Web Analytics Solutions

Why Are Web Analytics Important?

What are the key benefits of web analytics is an important question to consider before you spend time and money on buying a solution.  In general terms web analytics allow you understand more about your potential customers and to measure, analyse and report on your website traffic. This answers the following questions:

  1. Who visits your website – in terms of number of
    visitors and their characteristics?
  2. Where do your visitors come from – the source of traffic?
  3. What do visitors do when they get to your site –
    which pages do they visit?
  4. Where do they go afterwards – if you have links to
    other sites (e.g. you are an affiliate)?

 

Google Analtyics Demographics report

 

This is useful to know so that you can begin to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the performance of your website. Unless you measure something you won’t know if you are getting better or not and what changes to make to improve performance and revenues. This requires interrogating your web analytics platform to understand.

  • How many visitors land on your site every day?
  • Your audience and their demographic profile – the gender mix, their age, what are their interests?
  • What geographic location do your visitors come, such as the city or country?
  • What proportion of your visitors are new or returning visitors?
  • Audience behaviour – engagement levels and frequency of returning to your site?
  • What browsers are they using? Important to know so that you ensure you support old browsers if lots of your visitors are still using them.
  • Technology – what devices are your visitors using and their screen resolution? Again very useful because you want to optimize your site according to the devices & screen sizes of your visitors.
  • Landing and exit pages – what are they?
  • Which is your most popular content – which pages do they visit most? Critical for prioritising effort and A/B testing.
  • Which channels drive most visitors to your site – organic, direct, referral, paid, social?
  • Which campaigns generate most visitors to your site?
  • Referrals – Which domains are generating most visitors
    for your site.
  • Keywords used by visitors to find your site.

 

Google Analytics Audience overview report

 

Setting Business Objectives:

This is all interesting information, but what really matters is whether you are achieving your business goals. You need to define what the organisational goal of your website is and set this up in your web analytics.

The main purpose of website optimisation is to align each individual webpage with the relevant business objective. So for instance
if you have an e-commerce site you will want to set up goals that lead towards a sale, such as view a product page, add to basket, enter checkout and finally complete a sale.

For a blog you will be more interested in engagement metrics,
such as time spent on site and number of pages viewed. Once you have defined your key metrics you can set up automated reports to monitor your conversion rates and begin to investigate any changes that occur.

Visitor Behaviour:

Next you need to better understand your visitor behaviour to identify user journeys and whether you can improve goal achievement through making changes to your site. You should
monitor bounce rates and page load speed times to ensure any changes you make to your website don’t put visitors off browsing your site.

Google Analytics Behaviour Flow report

 

Conversion Funnel:

One of the most useful benefits of web analytics is the ability to look at the visitors’ path to purchase so that you can identify the drop-off rates at each step in the journey. You will be able to see if any particular stage is more problematic than the others so that you can consider what changes might help reduce this leak in the conversion funnel.

Image of conversion funnel report from Woopra.com analytics
Image Source: Woopra.com

Variations in Conversion Rate:

You should then begin to investigate whether your conversion rate at each step in the funnel varies across some of the metrics we
have just listed.  This might highlight that your website is not that user friendly for visitors on small screens or that your site doesn’t render properly in certain browsers.

If your overall conversion rate is significantly lower in Germany than the UK and there is no obvious reason why this is the case you might want to review your copy as German tends to use more characters than English and direct translations can sometimes fail to allow for local cultural differences.

Crossbrowsertesting.com homepage

 

Source of Traffic:

Your traffic report will tell you where your traffic is coming from and which channels are converting better than others. If you are paying for traffic this helps you to understand if you are getting a reasonable return on investment. Again, investigate why you see differences in your conversion rate to try and understand if it relates to your website or the nature of the traffic for each channel.

Image of Google Analytics report showing conversion rate

Broken Stuff:

If you see a sudden drop-off in conversion or decline in traffic from a reliable source this may indicate something is broken on your or a referrer’s site. Use your analytics to flag up when and where on your site there may be a problem with your site so that you can prevent it going unnoticed and costing your organisation significant sums in lost business.

With most subscription web analytics you can set up automated reports that will be emailed to you on a daily basis to help you monitor your key metrics. This will save you having to login every day and allow you to monitor site performance even when you are out of the office.

Website Analytics Comparison:

Here are 18 of the most popular web analytic platforms, some of
which are free, and so there is no excuse not to start measuring your visitors and their behaviour.

1. Adobe Analytics – Marketing Cloud: Previously
Omniture/SiteCatalyst.  A popular enterprise solution with e-commerce sites that you can fully integrate with Adobe’s Test & Target A/B, multivariate testing and personalisation platform.

A comprehensive suite of features, including mobile, ad-hoc analysis, and the ability for real-time and rule-based decision-making tools to target key customer segments.

Image of Adobe Marketing Cloud Analytics

  1. Amplitude: This positions itself as a behavioural analytics solution as its focus is on tracking events rather than simply visitors. Amplitude offers real-time monitoring of user behaviour and unlimited individual user timelines. Pathfinder, their user flow analysis, allows you to better understand how visitors navigate through your site or app by visualizing the aggregate paths that they take.

The behavioural cohorting feature allows you to define a group of users based upon the actions they have or have not taken on your site. You can then apply cohorts throughout your analysis to understand how different behaviours impact specific KPIs such as retention and revenues. The Microscope feature allows you to click on any point in a chart and create a cohort of everyone who did or did not take a certain action to investigate what is driving their behaviour.

Amplitude offers a free plan for sites or apps with up to 10 million monthly events. For organisations with up to 100 million monthly events the Business Plan costs just $995 per month.

3. Chartbeat: Offers a suite of analytical and testing tools for tracking and optimising editorial content and advertising spend. It focusses on helping organizations understand what content captures and holds audience attention and monetize inventory on the page.

Image of Chartbeat.com Analytics homepage

4. Clicky: Real-time analytics with an extensive range of features including data at an individual visitor level, on-site analytics, heatmaps, up-time monitoring, a flexible API, Twitter analytics, Google search rankings, video analytics and big screen mobile mode. Free for single websites.

Image of Clicky.com analytics homepage

 

 

5. Econda: An enterprise level web analytics platform and recommendation engine that is popular with e-commerce websites. Used by many of Germany’s top 100 online retailers. This solution combines high-end technology with an intuitive user interface.

Cross Sell combines a recommendation engine with an online sales tool and re-marketing suite. Product recommendations are context-sensitive and all entry pages can be tailored for your visitors.

Image of Econda.com homepage

 

6. Formisimo: A state of the art form analytics platform to identify how users interact with your forms and checkout fields. The tool
tracks every input field so that you can identify which fields users don’t complete, plus when they do and don’t use auto-complete.

Your form or checkout is unlikely to work as well on all browsers, devices or certain languages. Advanced filters allows you to view
all reports for a segment of your visitors to identify and remedy cross-browser or other performance issues. A highly recommended tool by many conversion experts.

Formisimo form analytics homepage image

 

7. Gauges: A low-cost real-time web analytics solution for small to medium sized organizations. Gauges was designed to be a website analytics API and the dashboard that you see on the Gauges frontend is a web client that consumes the API. 7 day Free trial available.

gauges analytics homepage image

 

8. Google Analytics: The default Free web analytics solution for many organisations. As a result there is a constant stream of posts on how to get the best out of Google Analytics. What I love about Google Analytics is that the user interface is intuitive and because it’s from Google it  integrates really easily with other Google solutions such as Webmaster Tools and AdSense.

The tool is also generally fast to generate reports, no waiting around for data to be processed or sent to you via email. It’s a great tool to begin getting into web analytics.

Once you have installed Google Analytics you will need to set it up and this article takes you through the basics. For reports to use here are 12 Awesome custom Google Analytics reports created by experts . For common mistakes in setting up Google Analytics see this post by Natalie Henley.

The free version of Google Analytics offers most features that smaller organisations need and implementation is simple and quick. It uses sampled data when you have over one million unique dimension combinations in standard reports, or more than 500,000 for special queries, such as in custom reports.

Google Analytics 360  (currently in beta) is the new enterprise suite of six applications which aims to directly challenge Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. It combines Google Analtyics Premium (now called  Google Analytics 360) and Attribution 360 (previously Adometry) which it acquired in 2014. You will also get access to an enterprise version of Google Tag Manager.

It gives you access to Audience Center 360, a data management platform that integrates with Google’s own tools (including DoubleClick) and will take data from third-party tools. Of particular interest is the addition of Data Studio 360 which offers advanced data visualization and analysis solutions. This is powered by BigQuery – Google’s data analytics platform. This provides a native report building option for Google Analytics 360 with all the features of Google Docs (e.g sharing & multi-user editing).

Finally, Optimize 360 is a brand new A/B testing and personalisation tool which includes a visual editor interface to bring it in line with other leading A/B testing solutions. So far little has been outlined about this solution but digital marketers will be keeping a close eye on what is unveiled as A/B testing tools are a key component of any modern analytics solution.

 

Google Analytics homepage image

9. GoSquared: A real-time web analytics solution that gives you insights and access down to the individual user-level. A modern and intuitive user interface GoSquared offers business and enterprise solutions, together with a  Free version for the small entrepreneur.

Go Squared analytics homepage image

 

  1. Heap Analytics: A unique real-time web analytics solution that doesn’t require any code to be implemented to setup event tracking. The Event Visualizer allows you to define analytics events by performing the action yourself and so anyone in your organisation can set up a conversion funnel or retention report in seconds. You can also search for an individual user to see every action they’ve done or find users based upon a specific behaviour.

Heap Analytics offers an integrated graphics solution to plot changes in key metrics over time. This allows you to adjust the range, granularity and visualization as you require. The solution integrates easily with most popular data analysis tools and you can run your own SQL queries or export data to tools such as Tableau.

A free plan is available for up to 5,000 sessions a month or up to 50,000 sessions per month if you add their badge to your website. A 14 day free trial is available for the Custom Plan.

11. IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) is part of IBM Enterprise Marketing ManagementAn enterprise cloud-based solution incorporating  near real-time web analytics, data monitoring and comparative benchmarking.  The click-stream reports are very powerful and allow you to see how visitors navigate around your site.

You can expand the IBM Digital Analytics solution to include multiple sites, offline customer behaviour, ad relevancy, impression attribution and social media channels.

IBM Digital Analytics homepage image

 

12. Kissmetrics: A highly recommended and powerful web analytics and digital marketing optimization platform. The solution has three key advantages over traditional web analytics. It allows for flexible custom data with an easy to use API, it focusses on individual users and it tracks user behaviour on a multi-session basis.

By tracking user behaviour on a multi-session basis, and by aliasing anonymous cookie data with identifying information, (e.g. email address), Kissmetrics doubles as a customer database. You can collect detailed purchase information and analyse how it correlates with your behavioural analytics data. This provides a comprehensive view of an individual’s interactions with your site over time.

The product is highly thought of for identifying holes in the conversion funnel. It allows you to build ad-hoc queries to drill
down on very specific segments.

Image of Kissmetrics.com homepage

13. Maxly: A comprehensive real-time web and conversion
analytics solution. Now with a Free tool – Is my site broken, which will show you how your Google Analytics stats match up with the industry standard. It offers a range of plans, including
an enterprise solution. 30-day free trial available and a 60-day money back guarantee.

Maxly Analytics homepage image

 

14. Mint: A self-hosted web analytics platform. This allows you to monitor a website from your own server which may appeal to some organisations. The product has a well-designed and easy to use interface. Mint excels at the presentation of data and has a modular approach. Each module is referred to as a ‘Pepper’ and the out of the
box Peppers provide your basic analytics functionality.

The ‘Real Estate’ Pepper tracks the size of users’ browsers and the ‘Crushes’ Pepper sets a cookie on users’ computers so you can monitor who is returning to your site. The iPhone Pepper allows you
to use your iPhone to view data on your phone.

Mint also allows you to track users at an individual level, so that you can see where they came from and monitor their whole user journey in detail. This can be particularly useful for B2B sites where you have
relatively low numbers of visitors, but are potentially high value, or you want to explore use cases.

Each licence is for a single website, but a licence only costs $30 a month.

 

Mint Analytics homepage image

 

 

15. Mixpanel: This is a technically advanced tool that is better at behavioural tracking than Google Analytics and is great for content-focussed websites, but less relevant for ecommerce sites. It is, however, easy to create funnels on Mixpanel and to visualise them in the user interface. It also allows you to segment users based upon source of traffic or other characteristics (e.g. city) and how they interact with your site. The Explore feature enables you to create profiles for individual users which can be very useful for assisting Customer Services in supporting existing users.

Due to the complexity of the solution it requires a dedicated analyst who can manage it on a daily basis to fully understand the tool and ensure it is set up correctly to measure all your key metrics.  To fully integrate API tracking within the solution also needs a fair amount of technical knowledge. It also requires frequent integration with your website if it has to measure specific events or you regularly update or release new features.

 

Image of Mixpanel.com homepage

16. Piwik: A self-hosted, open-source Free web analytics platform. Piwik is a comprehensive web analytics solution but unlike many packages, there is no limit to the amount of data you can store for free. It also has a mobile app. Because it is held on your own server you own the data and can integrate easily with your own internal systems.

Image of Piwik.org homepage

 

17. Webtrends: A fully integrated and powerful enterprise platform that includes analytics, segmentation, testing, targeting and  re-marketing. An excellent tool for tracking user segments, purchase funnels, scenarios, drop-off and bounce rates. The solution integrates with 3rd party data including app stores, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Webtrends analytics offers:

  • Unlimited data collection
  • Multi-channel measurement across social, mobile, web and SharePoint
  • Configurable digital dashboards
  • Standard and customized analytics reporting
  • Extensive data export
  • Custom and calculated metrics
  • Ad-hoc data exploration to unlimited dimensions

Image of Webtrends.com homepage

18. Woopra: Real-time tracking of customer activity across multiple channels including web, apps and emails. It provides a comprehensive profile for every user,  customisable segmentation, funnels, retention  and automated driven actions.  A Free version
is available.

Woopra Analytics homepage image

 

Conclusion:

Web analytics are critical to get visibility of what content your visitors are engaging with and to better understand visitor behaviour when they land on your site. For start-ups get yourself Google Analytics as this is a free and very comprehensive solution that will meet most needs. Other solutions often provide free trial periods and so if you want a more sophisticated tool there are plenty to choose from.

If you found this post useful please share using the social media icons on this page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

Do Single Page Websites Suck?

 What are the pros and cons of single page websites?

 

Are single page websites a passing fad that participants
will in time see as a ghastly mistake or do they have a place as a practical alternative to the traditional large website? Now I’m not questioning the role of single page websites as landing pages for promotions or product announcements, special project, showcasing a portfolio or a website with minimal content.

What I’m talking about here is the site with more than a few
pages, where there is more than one layer of navigation and where there is a need for an archive of content and a desire for social sharing.  The idea of a single page website is to reduce clutter by only serving essential content, but does this desire for simplification actually lead to greater user frustration because too much content has been removed and it makes sharing of content difficult?

What is a single page website?

Initially one-page websites used a single web page to dynamically load all pages at once and this allowed the user to scroll endlessly
to view different sections of the site. However, increasingly such sites use CSS3 and AJAX to display navigation menus that take users directly to the section they are interested in.

What are the benefits?

 Simplicity:

Less is more is undoubtedly true sometimes, there is a danger that we present too much information to a user at any one time which can create cognitive overload. One-page sites reduce the amount of decisions users have to make and remove the need for complex navigation to direct visitors to specific pages.

Easier browsing & no dead-ends:

As all content is on a single page there is no need for multi-layer navigation and there is no risk of the user getting lost or finding a page with little or no content. This should speed up the browsing process and reduce the number of decisions users have to make.

Easier to keep content up-to-date:

Having substantially less content to maintain and all of it on a single page significantly reduces the resources required to maintain a website. This should make the site less costly to run and allow what content is shown to be kept more up-to-date.

Mobile friendly:

It is much easier to ensure your website is mobile friendly when you only have a single page to optimise. Since Google decided to give preference to mobile friendly websites this has probably given a big boost to the appeal of one-page web sites. However, if all your content is not accessible by mobile devices (e.g. you use flash for some elements), then this is only a sticking plaster to hide a much bigger problem that needs addressing.

Image Cameo one page website
Image Source:

Focus on key content and messages:

The limitation of only having a single page to communicate your proposition and get a user to take action means that you have to keep to only essential messages and content.  This may be a good discipline and is why single page sites are often used for landing pages to improve conversion rates. The risk for a multi-product website though is that some visitors require more detailed information about a product or service before they are willing to make a decision. For these types of visitors they are likely to become frustrated as they won’t be able to find the content they are looking for.

Take visitors on a journey:

Single page websites are often designed to be more dynamic and aesthetically pleasing by encouraging visitors to scroll through the website. They encourage visitors to go on a journey rather than the traditional static experience of just looking at content on separate pages. Designers may create movement by triggering images or copy to appear as the visitor scrolls down the page.

image

Source: Cameron’s World:

 Google SEO page rank applies to the whole site:

If your whole website is designed for a single product in mind then you might get a small improvement in SEO ranking as Google will apply your page rank to the whole website. If you have more than one product or service this will not be the case and it could be detrimental to your search rankings.

 

The disadvantages:

So there are a number of potential benefits of creating a one-page website, but what about the potential drawbacks?

 

Longer load speed:

Trying to serve all your content on a single page means that your site could take longer to load and this may result in a higher bounce rate and lower conversion as a direct consequence of this change in the performance of your site. It could also affect your Google rankings as the search engine penalises slow loading sites. This should be a major concern for any marketer as people are impatient and don’t like to wait more than two or three seconds for a website to load.

Image of TameemSafri.com
Image Source:

 

Growing content:

A one-page website gives you little flexibility to add new content and so if you want to add new products or services you are going to be severely limited. It also doesn’t allow you to build up an archive of content, such as a blog. You will have to send visitors to another site to give them access to such an archive, which is not a great user experience and your main site doesn’t benefit from the SEO value of such content.

Reduced engagement:

When a visitor first comes to your site it is important that you have sufficient content to draw them into your proposition before you can expect them to take action. Indeed, many first time visitors are not ready to sign up and this is why returning visitor conversion is often higher than new visitor conversion.

People need to be engaged and persuaded by relevant and interesting content. However, if you only have a one-page site, you can only have a limited amount of content in each section and there are no other pages to navigate to. This could mean you will experienced a fall in engagement and time spent on your site as there is substantially less content to encourage visitors to browse the site. This may or may not be good for conversion, it will very much depend

 

SEO Keywords and Content Relevancy:

Google and other search engines look for relevancy of content to match with the search query.  With a single page website you
may be ok with your primary keywords, but it is likely that you will struggle to achieve relevancy on sub-topics and terms that would rank better on their own pages.

Indeed, Google’s Hummingbird update aims to match the meaning of a query to relevant content, not just simply keywords on a page. By restricting yourself to a single page to cover all your products, features, benefits, technical details, testimonials, partners, market segments and more –  you are  severely limiting your opportunities to optimize content for SEO relevancy.

Image of http://88and90lex.com/home homepage
Image Source:

 

Sharing Specific Content Is Difficult:

We live in the age of social media sharing, whether it is photos, video, quotes, Tweets, stories and more. However, one-page websites make it difficult to share specific content or snippets of a post because they are not designed with this in mind. You always land on the same page and if you have a blog you will have to take them away from your main site to where your blog is hosted.

Understanding Engagement Points:

As the whole site has a single URL it makes it difficult to use web analytics to identify what content your users are interested in and how they browse your site.  You will also see an increase in your bounce rate as there is nowhere else for your visitors to navigate to on your site.  However, this does not really help you understand how well visitors are engaging with your content.

 

image

Source: Braking Badly:

Conclusion:

There is undoubtedly a role for single page websites as landing pages and for promotions, special projects, web toys, stand-alone games etc. However, given the number of potential disadvantages they exhibit they may not to be a sustainable alternative for many multi-page websites.  We should though look to validate these risks with data as many innovations are at first dismissed because they don’t conform to existing best practice, rather than because we have data to support the status quo.

May be in time the major limitations can be resolved or mitigated, but at present they create significant challenges for multi-page websites. Users are not going to thank you if they can’t find the content they are looking for and are most likely to disappear off to a competitor website. 

At the same time designers of multi-page websites could look to incorporate some of the innovate ideas and discipline of single page websites. Learning to keep content to an absolute minimum for example might reduce some of the distractions and information overload that multi-page websites often suffer from.  Single page websites definitely have their place and are pushing the boundaries for website design.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share using the social media logos below.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@conversion-uplift.co.uk. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

Do Web Presenters Increase Conversion?

 

What Are The Benefits Of A Video Spokesperson?

 

If you visit the websites for Virgin Holidays, IoEE, Lettingref.com,
Sheraton Hotels, Surefit Carpets, or many other sites you may come across a virtual website spokesperson or greeter. A video  spokesperson normally features a transparent background to create the impression that they are standing on your website and this means they grab attention.

Most websites use a video of real person for their presenter as this
can have more impact than an animated figure, but animation is another option for you to consider.

A video spokesperson can be an effective way of getting engagement when a visitor first arrives or your site to assist the onboarding process. They can also help explain  upsell or cross-sell during a key step in a customer journey.

Virgin Holidays achieved a 30% uplift in seat upgrades by using a MWP video spokesperson, whilst Lettingref.com managed a 9% increase in online sign ups that went onto make a deposit by using
a virtual greeter to introduce and explain their service. Econsultancy
on the other hand employed a video spokesperson to explain their membership plans and increased sign ups by 15%.

Real Human Video Spokesperson:

 

The Video Spokesperson Directory provides comprehensive information about video spokespersons around the world. However, here are some video website greeter companies that I have come across.

 1. Bellmedia: Offers high quality video spokespersons and video  web banners. Cost includes 12-month free video hosting.

 

 

2. Easywebpresenter:  Provides a fresh tailored video web  presenter and greeter to add a dynamic edge to your website. Costs start from £79.99 and £24.99 for monthly rental.

 

3. innovatemedia: Employs actors and actresses to deliver a real
human spokesperson for your website to improve engagement and increase conversion. Choose from their talent database or from 2 to 3 actors and actresses at each shoot day.

 

4. LiveActor: With over 25 years video experience LiveActor can
deliver a video spokesperson for your website within 7 to 10 business days and they allow you to choose the actor online. Also offers video website banners and professional voiceover services.

 

 

5. Model2web: Allows you to view and select from models on
their website to create a virtual spokesperson for your website to improve engagement and sales. Prices start from $79 with no monthly fee, cost is a one off payment, with no hosting fee.

 

6.  MyWebPresenter: Guaranteed return or money back. Creates
professional web presenters and video spokesperson videos to engage visitors and improve conversion. Provides for continuous  A/B testing as standard to optimise the video content and delivery.

 

7. Studios1: Delivers video spokesperson to engage visitors as they land on your site. Offers over 150 actors and actresses to choose from.

8.  Videotile: Provides a full range of video services including website presenters, video mailers, explainer videos, video landing pages and background graphics and animation.

 

 

9. Vopres: Real-human video presenters to inspire trust, increase sales and reduce customer service costs.  Prices start from £395 for a 60 second video (minimum order of 3 videos).

 

Animated Video Presenters:

 

1. SitePal: Displays an animated speaking avatar to greet visitors to your site to improve engagement and reduce bounce rates. 15 day Free trial available. Over 250 stock avatars which can be customized, including using your own uploaded images and have an
API for advanced functionality.

 

2. CodeBaby: Offers a range of customized animated avatar solutions for both self-service and e-learning needs. Self-service includes conversion optimization which uses emotionally intelligent response segments to direct the customer experience towards your
business goal. Other solutions include benefits, health and service
adviser.

 

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share it using the social media button below.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

4 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate

Why is email marketing important?

Email has transformed how we do business and it has been recognised as the technology that has had the greatest impact on how we work over the past ten years. Email also is vastly more effective at acquiring new customers than social media – almost 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

However, on the average contact list around 60% of emails are inactive. This means that less than half of your contacts are probably receiving your communication and have a chance of opening it.

Email also has over 3 times the number of user accounts compared to Facebook and Twitter combined – around 2.9 billion. Here is a link to an awesome infographic on email marketing statistics.

What I find amazing though is how many forms and checkouts don’t use real-time validation to improve data quality at source. This is a false economy as ‘Donald.Duck@outlook.com’ is unlikely to become a valuable long-term prospect.


1. Improve how you gather, manage and clean your email addresses:

Image of Loop11.com email capture form
Source: Loop11.com

Review your sign-up and email capture forms to ensure that if possible you have real-time validation integrated into the process and consider asking new customers to confirm their email address via a welcome email. This will almost certainly reduce the number of sign-ups you get but you have to question the intent of those visitors who try to register with bogus or inactive email addresses.

It is better to start a relationship with a customer on even terms rather than allow people to take advantage of a poorly implemented customer contact form. Otherwise you may also be opening yourself up to potential fraudulent activity that could cost you more than the price of a validation solution.

You should also consider regularly removing customers you have not opened emails and dormant customers of over 3 to 6 months to further improve your contact database.  For more seasonal businesses you might want to extend this to a longer period if you have evidence to support this.  You can view 13 email cleansing and verification solutions  in a separate post.

2. Segment and prioritise your customers to improve targeting and response rates:

 

image of tangerine segments
Source: Freeimages.com

 

Try to consolidate all the data you collect from customers into a database so that you can begin to use it for email marketing. This will allow you to improve the quality of your contact database and segment your customers according to value and needs so that you can begin to target customers with more relevant and timely communications. This should allow you to improve open-rates significantly.  Providers like Segment.com can assist you with this process.

3. Set up transactional & event-based emails:

Image of Chillfactore transactional email
Source: Chillfactore.com

Customers are most engaged when they complete a transaction on your site and so this is an ideal time to contact them with an email. Setting up transactional emails to confirm a customer initiated activity provides a great opportunity to deepen the relationship by including relevant content, such as cross-sell or up-sell messages and/or promotional offers.

image of Airbnb transactional email
Source: Airbnb.com

For customers who register with you or meet other criteria (e.g. abandon basket) it is important to set up automated email cycles to deliver relevant and timely messages to provide revenue generating opportunities. You can use solutions such as GetResponse to create automated transactional and event driven email campaigns.

GetResponse allows you to establish event-based email cycles triggered by actions such as opens and clicks, change in contact preferences, birthday or other important dates, contact sign-up or another email cycle. This means you can set up email cycles that are adjusted for your audience profile and ensure they are received at the optimal moment in your customer’s journey.

4. Mobile optimisation is important:

Image of Blackberry smart phone and other devices
Source: Blackberry.com

 

According to statistics from the US Consumer Device Preference report almost three quarters (66%) of emails in the US are opened on smartphones and tablets. This means email marketing is  especially good at reaching mobile customers and so content needs to be fully optimised for small screens. Most users who view an email on mobile will delete it if the email doesn’t look good on their mobile device.

Don’t assume your customers have perfect eyesight and check your emails on a real phone rather than an emulator. From a consumer’s perspective email marketing has the advantage over SMS texting as sometimes texting can result in a charge to the recipient.

Before embarking on email campaigns it is a good idea to consider all of these strategies as otherwise there is a danger your email campaigns will fail to deliver their expected return on investment. Although it is one of the most effective methods of digital marketing unless you do the necessary preparation work you could be throwing your money down the drain.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share using the social media icons on my site.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

 

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked with brands such as Deezer.com, Foxybingo.com, Littlewooods.com and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement  using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback. The objective is to ensure the aim of each webpage is aligned with the organisation’s business goals. This helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.

17 Email Address Verification Software Solutions To Boost Conversions

Why is email marketing important?

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of acquiring new customers and reactivating existing customers. However, research suggests that on the average contact list around 60% of emails are inactive.  So less than half of your contacts may be receiving your communication and have a chance of opening it. This can seriously damage the effectiveness of email campaigns.

For this reason email address verification software is important to consider when planning your email marketing strategy. It may be a false economy if you don’t  invest in real-time solutions to check and verify email addresses when you first capture them.

You should also regularly conduct data cleansing of your lists to maintain the quality of existing customer contact details. Email address checkers will normally validate the format of emails, remove duplicates, remove role emails (e.g. sales@), compare against a bounce file, compare against a complainers file and remove disposable emails.

You may also be interested in my post: 4 ways to improve your email marketing conversion rate. Below you will find 17 leading email address checkers to cleanse and verify emails.

Email Address Verification Software Solutions:

 

1. BriteVerify:  A web-based email address verification software solution that allows you to either drag and drop your list into a window on the site or import it from your email service provider. The site automatically confirms the total number of records and the cost of validation. Brite-Forms is a real-time , secure form protection and validation solution that eliminates mistakes at the point of data entry and helps prevent form spamming. Integration simply requires a snippet of JavaScript to be added to your webpage.

Image of BriteVerify.com homepage

 

 

2. Data8: A comprehensive suite of email verification software  and data management tools  including validation, cleansing and data supply solutions. This includes software for email verification, plus phone, address, bank and identity validation. Data8’s software is a comprehensive email checker, with flexible licencing options and easy to integrate APIs for websites, CRM systems and shopping cart platforms.

Image of data8.co.uk email validation page

 

3. Data Improver by Neopost: A purely browser-based email verification software to validate and enhance you data. Aimed at SMEs the service just requires you to upload your contact data file and select the service you require. Neopost estimate that in the UK customer data changes by between 7% to 21% every year and so needs to be regularly cleaned and updated.

Image of Dataimprover homepage

 

4. emailanswers: Email verification software that applies  a rigorous  eight step process which involves; removing duplicates, role emails (e.g. sales@), keywords ( e.g. spam, junk) , compare emails against the bounce file, complainers file, domain/spam traps,  disposable email addresses and validate using proprietary email verification software.

image of emailanswers.com homepage

 

5. EmailverifierApp: A full email verification and validation service. Offers advanced list cleaning using a 12 stage email verification process to protect your sending reputation by scanning for typos, spam-traps, complainers, disposable emails and more.

Image of emailverifierapp.com homepage

 

6. Experian: Provides a comprehensive range of email and data validation  and cleansing solutions. They allow you to capture accurate data via real-time email addresses verification software and also validate email addresses already held in your business databases.

 

Image of Experian email verification page

 

7.  HuBuCo: Offers email list verification services and real-time validation as subscribers sign up on your website. They have a single API for integrating with your application and a bulk API for organisations wanting to resell email validation services. UK-based 24/7 customer support team available to answer your queries.

 

Image of HuBuCo.com homepage

 

8. Informatica: Instant and accurate email verification software and list cleaning  Email Verification Plus Hygiene reduces the chances of an email not being delivered and improves email marketing performance. The service will check if the email address is valid or will it bounce and is there any risk to sender reputation in sending an email to the address.

Image of Informatica email verification

 

9. Kickbox: Offers email verification, list cleaning and integration of email verification into your application process.  Kickbox verifies email addresses using a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol to check it is a known email address. By checking with the would-be recipient’s email server via SMTP, they establish whether a user for a given email address actually exists.

 

image of doc.kickbox.io homepage

 

 

10. MailboxValidator: A browser-based solution that requires you to upload your list as either a text file or CSV format to verify and clean up your email list. The solution connects to the mail server to check whether the mailbox exits to reduce bounce rate and costs.

Image of mailboxvalidator homepage

 

11. Matchcode360: Provides a comprehensive and global range of data capture and validation solutions including email, postal addresses, landlines and mobile numbers. It is easy to install and compatible with Salesforce, SAP applications and Microsoft CRM.

Image of matchcodeglobal.com solutions page

 

12. MelissaData: Provides a full range of web-based data capture, cleansing and management solutions with a global reach. They claim to remove 95% of bad emails in your list and help you avoid blacklists and spam folders. They also correct general formatting and syntax errors to turn undeliverable addresses into deliverable ones.

Melissa Data offers a Free trial for their Global Email Cloud Service which provides real-time email mailbox verification, corrects common typographical errors, and standardizes email addresses as they are entered – which eliminates the need for the ‘Confirm email’ field in sign-up forms and checkout.

 Image of MelissaData.com global email cloud service

 

13. PCAPredict: Delivers a full range of data capture and cleansing services, including email validation, address, mobile and payment validation. The service verifies the domain and that the mailbox really exists and can receive incoming mail.  It also checks the validity of business and personal email addresses, even for free web-mail services such as Hotmail and Gmail.  Batch cleanse offers to process your existing address list to remove bogus and mistyped email addresses.

Image of PCAPredict.com email services

 

14. Snov.io: Offers a multi-step email address verification and validation service. This includes a syntax check, domain validity, check against database of bounced emails and finally a multiple SMTP-check. This helps to protect your sender reputation and increase email delivery rates.

Image of Snov.io homepage

 

15. towerdata: Syntax engine identifies invalid email formats, email correction software corrects misspellings and typos, spam trap suppressions,  proprietary domain database reviews status of every
email domain, mailbox check predicts if emails will bounce,  diagnostic codes categorize reasons why emails are bad, and email delivery metrics monitor how old an email is and when it was last opened.

Image of towerdata email verification

 

16. ValidateEmailAddress.org: A free email address checker that verifies individual email addresses. Alternatively you can subscribe to their bulk-email address checker at Bulk mail verifier. This is a cloud-based email address checker that removes dead emails, invalid syntax and fake email addresses from your subscriber or email lists.

 

Image of validateEmailAddress.org homepage

 

17. Xverify: Real-time email and data verification platform. This includes checking at the server to ensure the username is registered at the domain and using their suppression list. Their suppression list has millions of email addresses that are classified as temporary, high risk or complainers. The service can verify all the major consumer email providers including Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail. Also offers address verification for the USA and Canada.

100 free verifications available for new customers. Volume discounts apply depending upon total verifications per month.

Image of Xverify.com homepage

Conclusion:

Email marketing is an important driver of sales and engagement with visitors and prospects. However, unless you spend time and money on real-time email address verification  software and regularly clean your data the effectiveness of your campaigns will suffer. Don’t let this happen as despite the availability of large contact lists quality is still more important than quantity.

Email address checkers are not a luxury, they are essential for any organisation that is serious about email marketing.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share using the social media icons on my site.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@conversion-uplift.co.uk. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.